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Michael Chiesa not planning to fight during coronavirus crisis: I need to be at my ‘absolute best’

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Michael Chiesa doesn’t want to fight unless he’s at his absolute best.

It’s not necessarily the fear of coronavirus that’s stopping fighters from competing during the pandemic, but rather, a lack of resources.

Former UFC middleweight champ Chris Weidman opened up about how difficult it was to train in complete isolation for his now-cancelled matchup with Jack Hermansson at UFC Fight Night 174, and with many gyms having temporarily closed doors, fighters are concerned about not being able to perform at their best on fight night.

Count Michael Chiesa amongst those who’ve decided to put their UFC careers on hold until the global lockdown is lifted and the economy is back on track.

The top-ten UFC welterweight has no intention of returning to the UFC until he can train — and perform — at his very best.

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“When are you going to fight again?” • That’s a question many of us fighters are being asked regularly. On the heels of my biggest win to date, there is nothing I want more than to get back in the octagon and compete. Fighting in an empty arena feels almost advantageous to me after the time I spent on TUF. Competing in that type of environment is not what I’m worried about. It’s the preparation that’s holding me back. Gyms are closed, training partners are scarce, and coaches/teammates are doing what’s best to protect the heath of their family. All of which are things I empathize with 110%. On top of that, there’s other problems behind the scenes that are better left unsaid. I know many fighters are experiencing the same challenges in trying to put together a camp right now. There’s some people that have enough resources to make it happen right now but unfortunately, I’m not one of those people. • Ultimately I have two choices. One is keep doing what I can to stay fit and wait for restrictions to lift. The other is to make some choices and moves to get me in a position where I can be confident I can prepare for a fight. My stance on who I fight next will remain the same, it has to be someone ranked ahead of me. Out of respect for that short list of guys and the wishes of my family, I’m not showing up unless I can be at my absolute best. • All I can say is, I hope to get back in there sooner than later and I am proactively searching for solutions on my own. I hope everyone out there is staying safe, and staying healthy. God bless. • #visionquest #campchiesa

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“‘When are you going to fight again?’

That’s a question many of us fighters are being asked regularly. On the heels of my biggest win to date, there is nothing I want more than to get back in the octagon and compete. Fighting in an empty arena feels almost advantageous to me after the time I spent on TUF. Competing in that type of environment is not what I’m worried about. It’s the preparation that’s holding me back. Gyms are closed, training partners are scarce, and coaches/teammates are doing what’s best to protect the heath of their family. All of which are things I empathize with 110%. On top of that, there’s other problems behind the scenes that are better left unsaid. I know many fighters are experiencing the same challenges in trying to put together a camp right now. There’s some people that have enough resources to make it happen right now but unfortunately, I’m not one of those people.

Ultimately I have two choices. One is keep doing what I can to stay fit and wait for restrictions to lift. The other is to make some choices and moves to get me in a position where I can be confident I can prepare for a fight. My stance on who I fight next will remain the same, it has to be someone ranked ahead of me. Out of respect for that short list of guys and the wishes of my family, I’m not showing up unless I can be at my absolute best.

All I can say is, I hope to get back in there sooner than later and I am proactively searching for solutions on my own. I hope everyone out there is staying safe, and staying healthy. God bless.”

Chiesa hasn’t fought since his unanimous decision win over former lightweight champ Rafael dos Anjos at UFC Fight Night 166, which catapulted The Ultimate Fighter 15 winner to #8 in the UFC welterweight rankings.